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John

Also, have a full head of hair. It's like the 'be tall' one (in that it's entirely biological), but as soon as your hair starts to thin and recede, it's game over.

Lana

What a great article! Thanks so much for posting.

Different places have different stereotypes to be challenged. When I first moved to the Boston area (I'm a Brit) I was amazed by how many men were embarrassed when we went out for drinks or a meal and I offered to pay for my half. I picked a close friend's brain about it and he said it was a constant pressure in his life: the feeling that he should be "looking after" women. I was amazed! "How about we all look after each other?" I asked. He laughed, relieved, and said he liked that idea. ;)

Susie

Awesome, inspiring, Christ on a cracker

Maria

Lana, I agree. Many of the dating rituals that men in the US could feel pressured by, does not really exist in that form in my country either. I was never taught to expect that a man would pay for me if we went out together for example.

Hitch

Dating is definitely hugely different between cultures. In many parts of Europe dating in the US sense is actually only emerging. It's a rather unstructured experience.

Structure can actually be really good. A friend of mine moved to Germany. A really handsome guy. He completely failed to find a girlfriend because all the "moves" that are understood in the US were completely misunderstood. He wasn't familiar that one hangs out and gets to know people casually and that there is no expected protocol, or at least not the one he knew.

But at the same time it's also less sexist in a a way.

Even the feminism reflects this. Certainly German, French, British feminism is each quite different, not to mention American feminism.

On the inverse I remember a Eurpean au pair coming to the states and having a "lol, I can get free drinks easily here" phase, by essentially farming guys using US bar rituals. I thought it was quite funny.

On male sexuality, I'll just say this: We like a back rub. We really do.

Cryptsphinx

good article , as always.

Kamaka

Oh, the shit I took when I was a house-husband.

It was none of anyone's biz, and my support helped the wife's carreer take off in big ways, but I was still "suspect".

A little neighbor boy, in his innocence, put it best: "Your house is weird. At all the other houses, the mom cooks, but here the dad cooks."

Ola

"So what are some ways that sexism hurts men?"

I have a feeling that you actually missed the more serious ones. Not that the ones you listed weren't serious, mind you -- it's just that men are commonly discriminated against in much bigger issues. Two things off the top of my head: sexual assault and domestic violence.

The same behavior that gets a man put behind bars and registered as a sex offender for life -- when a woman engages in it... we might say she is coming on a little strong. Consider a typical situation: a girl wants a guy, who doesn't want her (imagine he has a girlfriend). So she gets alone with him, and starts kissing him... when he tries to push her away, she takes her top off, and approaches him again... How people react to such behavior? Ts-ts-ts, they say, she's seducing him, that's not very nice of her! If a guy behaved this way, they'd be all "OMG OMG a rapist, put him in prison!!!" Remember "Broken Flowers", with Bill Murray? His character visits the home of a former girlfriend, and her teenage daughter (a very well developed young woman) tries to seduce him by casually walking into the living room naked and smiling at him. (He leaves immediately.) The point is, the reaction of the people who see it is the same "Ts-ts-ts, what a shameless young lady". It is not "Holy shit, she is a juvenile sexual predator, she should be reported asap! And the poor guy needs therapy!", which would be everyone's reaction if the genders were reversed, right? A commenter named Steve gave you some very good pointers on this once. He recalled a scene from "Almost Famous", where a group of sexually assertive teenage girls say "Let's deflower the boy!". The virgin 15 year old boy doesn't really want to have sex with them... but nobody really asks him, and he feels pressured to respond, because he's male, and men are not supposed to refuse to sex, ever. So they all have their way with him. Again, if the genders were reversed, holy crap, just imagine the huge trouble that a group of teenage boys would be in for doing this to a 15 year old girl! I remember Steve's other comments on this were also very helpful (see here). I think that just the discrimination of men in sexual issues deserves its own blog post.

But there's more -- domestic violence. Men are never supposed to hit women. Ever. Even in self defense, even to stand up to an abuser. Never. And of course, women use this a lot! It's sure a whole lot easier to beat someone who doesn't beat you back! Dear Prudence just answered a letter of such a guy. Read the stream of horror stories in the comments. I see a lot of positive and egalitarian reactions there, but I also see a lot of covert sexism... Note especially Brandy Powell's story (a woman who was battering her boyfriend, and eventually put in prison for life for killing her next one). I was thinking: if this woman was a man, society would probably prevent this tragedy. Brandy describes situations where friends were witnesses of her constant abuse, but they never reported her. Until one day, no one was there to stop her from beating a guy to death... Like, wow, who could have seen that coming?

ckitching

Ola, even the original advise in that Dear Prudence column is a little off. If you swapped the male and female roles in that story, I don't see that anyone would ever offer the advise that was given.

I think the worst was the person who talked about how he taught critical thinking, and agreed with a student that domestic abuse by women wasn't a problem because it is rare and men are stronger than women. It sounds like this person needs to go back to class, because he failed on multiple counts. He needs to learn that averages don't apply to individuals, but populations, and also to learn that there are reasons other than the act being rare to explain the rarity of reporting.

This does remind me of major thing that Greta has missed in regards to unfair things expected of men. Men are expected to never ask for help, no matter how badly they need it, no matter how badly they want it, no matter how much pain they're suffering because of the lack of it. If you can't handle a situation on your own, it is a strike against your masculinity. They exhibits itself in the often joked about tendency to avoid asking for directions, jumping into a project without reading the instructions, the above mentioned domestic abuse situations, and even the avoidance of medical assistance when in great pain. This one is positively caustic, and I don't know of any way of calculating how much damage it has done. And while women often ridicule this aspect of male culture, it's positively good natured compared to what is said of those who reject (i.e. they're weak, needy, indecisive, helpless).

Wow! Fantastic post. I have struggled with the traditional roles of being a man vs my passion and what would make me happy. Thank you for putting this down so clearly.

(commenter name and URL deleted due to commercial content - GC)

MorganLynnGriggs Lamberth

Yes, some of us men are forever,even having worked-out a lot, remain weaklings! I don't know other weaklings myself. I now exercise for health and endurance and feel better for that. All that feeling inadequate physically and otherwise took its toll.
Greta, thanks!
Should people try bisexuality?

Closetpuritan

Sarah Hrdy has some insightful things to say about innate biological differences. Here's a bit from Mother Nature:
"“What magnifies small differences into major divisions of labor? The simplest answer is that people do, by following the path of least resistance. As Ed Wilson put it, “At birth the twig is already bent a little bit.” Where natural inclinations lead depends on how much effort is expended bending them back. Among humans, conscious effort can minimize preexisting differences. More often, small initial differences in responsiveness are exaggerated by life experiences and then blown out of all proportion by cultural customs and norms.

So the mother is more sensitive to infant needs than the father. So what? Who cares? And that’s just the point. The act of caring has its own consequences—habits of mind and emotion. When we get down to the “underlying mysteries” that George Eliot called attention to, the causes of difference can be just that simple….Just because the mother is more readily galvanized to respond to infant demands does not mean that fathers are not able to do so, or that they cannot become adequate caretakers, “good enough” caretakers, or that baby primates cannot form primary attachments to a male. Rather, a seemingly insignificant difference in thresholds for responding to infant cues gradually, insidiously, step by step, without invoking a single other cause, produces a marked division of labor by sex.

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